Mom opens craft workshop to help her daughter who has autism


OLIVETTE, Mo. – A local business was born out of a mom looking for a job for her 21-year-old daughter who has autism.

Adults with special needs are often left with few options for jobs once they reach 21 and no longer qualify for special services.

Julie Yawitz opened an AR Workshop franchise in Olivette after visiting a franchise last year. She didn’t want her daughter Kaitlyn to end up sitting on the couch every day and not having a meaningful job each day.

Julie looked around St Louis for job options for Kaitlyn. Her only options were day programs or a sheltered workshop. Julie didn’t feel like anything was a good fit. The AR Workshop model was exactly what she was looking for.

Kaitlyn calls it her small business. She puts inventory into the computer, labels the tools that are sanitized, and organizes other projects for the store.

The opening didn’t go as Julie had hoped. COVID hit when they were supposed to open in April. In May, they opened to curbside delivery. Now customers can come in and make home decor projects at a social distance. Private groups can also schedule workshop times.

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